Tuesday, 08 May 2007
MUSLIM gamers worldwide will soon be able to mix praying with playing after the creation of a Koran which can be downloaded onto PlayStation portable consoles. Malaysian student Ikhwan Nazri Mohamad Asran, 21, designed the software after seeing a similar version of the Bible.
"They did the Bible, so why not do the Koran ... This application can help younger people to read the Koran,' Mr Ikwhan said.
PlayStation enthusiasts, more used to playing games such as Ridge Racer and Metal Gear Acid, can download an English-language version of the Koran, with displays in Arabic script, from the Internet.
Mr Ikhwan said the software should appeal to parents, who sometimes distrust the Internet and gaming. "For some parents, when we talk about the Internet, all they see is porn, the bad things. When we talk about the PlayStation, all they see is gaming and spending too much time not studying,' he said. "A mother can say, 'Read the Koran first and then I'll let you play games.''
The software follows the creation of The Raise, an English-language magazine on Islam, for the Sony console, and other content such as Islamic wallpaper.
"We focus on giving information on Islam and clearing misconceptions that non-Muslims have about Muslims,' said Mr Ikhwan. He would later include Koranic recitations following requests.
I would have thought some of the more violent war games give a pretty good idea already . . .
Posted on 05/08/2007 4:15 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Saudi organizers of an education exhibition in the conservative kingdom closed a Canadian booth because it was staffed by women, Canada's embassy in Riyadh said on Monday.
They said organizers had said that women would be allowed to staff the booth promoting Canadian universities at a Middle East Education and Training Exhibition in the city of Jeddah last week.
"The closure of our booth was an unjustified, unprofessional act that damages the image of Saudi Arabia internationally," a statement issued over the weekend said.
"Prior to the event, we specifically inquired whether women staff would be permitted at the Exhibition and were told by the organisers, the Al Harithy Company, that they would."
There are more than 5,000 Saudi students studying in Canada, one of a number of Western countries seeking to boost its Saudi contingent. (Why????)The Saudi authorities also want more Saudis to study abroad.
Posted on 05/08/2007 4:12 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Posted on 05/08/2007 3:52 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Lisbon, Portugal. Nice town. Hot, but with sea breeze.
Posted on 05/08/2007 3:21 PM by John Derbyshire
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Posted on 05/08/2007 2:31 PM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Khalil Gibran was himself a Lebanese Christian. How amusing, and how telling, that as part of its protective coloration this sinister school -- what is billed as the innocent "teaching of Arabic and of Arab culture" is of course intimately bound up with campaigns of Da'wa and of the establishment of one more beachhead for Islam, for as islamization naturally includes with it a deliberate arabization, so does arabization, with such a staff, imply deliberate islamization.
The name was chosen, one assumes, by those who thought Gibran some kind of exemplar of some syncretistic semi-mystical Lebanese equivalent of Hesse or, more accurately, the author of "Jonathan Livingston Seagull," and that such a name would imply a certain innocuousness.
And can Muslims endure a school named after a cursed Christian? Yes, in this particular case they can. They can endure it for the greater good of spreading Islam. Much can be allowed by way of means, if the immutable ends are kept in mind. If faithful Muslims must teach or attend as students a school named after a Lebanese Christian --then his "Uruba" or Arabness will have to do for now in making up for his being an Infidel.
The things poor Muslims have to endure to mislead or fool the Infidels, and to get their way, step by inexorable step. But if it fools or misleads the Infidels, then it can be justified.
"War is deception" said Muhammad.
Posted on 05/08/2007 12:47 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
I learned a new word today: complexification. Apparently this means something in mathematics, but like many words and phrases that mean something in mathematics or science, in pseudo-science, pop psychology or real life, it means little or nothing. Indeed it sounds like a joke word, the sort of word George Bush would use if he were a bit confusified.
Complexification has sneaked out of its appointed place and is spreading with gay abandon. In fact it has abandonated any pretencitude of specificitousness.
Art is now complexified. At his site, www.complexification.net, Jared Tabell, “artist/programmer”, complexificates for our pleasure and profit. According to Brent, an admirer:
This man, this beacon of light in the otherwise poorly-illuminated field of computer programming, rips math from the daunting clutches of boredom, and infuses it with the spark of life, lovingly crafting it into art.
His work quickens the pulse, quivers the ribosomes, and releases endorphins of majestic quality.
His gift is to transform disturbingly dull equations like this one supplied by Peter De Jong:
xn+1 = sin(a yn) - cos(b xn)
yn+1 = sin(c xn) - cos(d yn)
Into breathtaking compositions like this:
Breath taken. I'm spiflicated.
Sex, like art, is no longer simplificatious. Here is our old friend, Luciana Parisi:
In this article, I engage with this relationship by drawing on the feminist intervention against the sex-gender system of identification based on the nature-culture, mind-body binarism. In particular, the emphasis on sexual difference and feminine desire in feminist cultural criticism has entailed a politics of disentanglement of sex from sexual reproduction, of desire from the economy of charge and discharge, and of femininity from organic nature. Yet, in this article, the notion of feminine desire further engages with the notion of nature. In particular, my critique of theories of evolution based on the centrality of sexual reproduction to ensure the complexification of life not only questions the assimilation of nature and women but more fundamentally challenges the teleological metaphysics of nature on which this assimilation depends. As I show, nature is regulated by neither a principle of descent ensured by sexual filiation nor a gradual accumulation of variations preserved through the mother and the father. Rather, processes of nonlinear transmission...
And where sex leads, sects must follow. Perhaps “sects” is a complexiflicatious way of spelling “sex”, which is such a short, plain little word, barely fit for purpose. But for now, it is religious sects that are being complificised. More specifically, a meeting was proposed with the grand title: Engagement of Governance with Spirituality - Towards a Complexification of the Political Image of Religions:
There is a marked tendency to over-simplify political understanding of religion. In traditionally Christian countries, for example, it is dangerously easy to stereotype fundamentalism as Islamic fundamentalism. This leads to treatment of Islam as a potential political menace analogous to the role played by Communism in the past.
The question is whether the political image of religion can be complexified as a basis for more subtle and discerning policies. This requires insights from institutionalized religion -- whilst remaining credible to those who value spiritual belief independent of such institutionalization.
The answer is a “spiritual map”, or rather a globe, so that no one spiritual belief is at the centre:
Progress towards the design of such a globe would be a major political and symbolic achievement of the proposed gathering. It would also give space to seemingly eccentric perspectives that otherwise may seek to establish their relevance in radical ways that constitute a major political challenge.
But doesn’t Islam say the world is flat? Now I’m all discombobulated.
Posted on 05/08/2007 12:23 PM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
With or without Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Sunni Arabs would never accept, would continue to oppose, the new dispensation, made inevitable by the deposing and removal of Saddam Hussein the Sunni despot --- the man, the the retinue, the regime -- of Shi'a Arab power. They may not be quite as cunning and as willing to die as the foreign zealots of Al-Qaeda, those Sunnis. They may not be quite as intent on killing the "Rafidite dogs," as Al-Zarqawi or the members of his group, who considered the Shi'a to be the worst sort of Infidels. But the Sunnis in Iraq have been persecuting the Shi'a during the entire history of modern Iraq, as Elie Kedourie so well describes in his essays on the subject (see "The Chatham House Version"). And what happened in modern times happened over the centuries, whenever and wherever the Sunnis felt it necessary to teach the Shi'a a lesson (and sometimes the reverse lesson was also imparted).
Is it conceivable that Andrew McCarthy is still unaware of what Elie Kedourie, or Philip Ireland before him, or Gertrude Bell before both of them, wrote about the Shi'a unwillingness to be ruled by the Sunnis or, particularly in Kedourie's case, the description of what the Sunnis did to the Shi'a to earn their hatred? Is it possible that Andrew McCarthy is willing to make pronouncements on the indispensability of Al-Qaeda's role in fostering sectarian hatred, without noting the terrorist campaign waged by the Sunnis of Sipaha-e-Sahaba in Pakistan against Shi'a professionals? Or the attempt to wipe out the Shi'a Hazaras by the Sunni Taliban? Or the low level Sunni-Shi'a warfare in Yemen over many decades? Or the discrimination and persecution of Shi'a in the Eastern Province of Saudi Arabia? Or the difficult relations between Sunni and Shi'a Muslims in Lebanon? If he does not know these things, why does he not bother to find out?
We have all of us long ago given up on the ability of those who apparently still make policy in the Bush Administration to figure out how the sectarian (and ethnic) fissures in Iraq :
1) are of great depth and duration, going back to the first century of Islam
2) are not limited to Iraq
3) have nothing to do with Al-Qaeda, and would exist, have existed, long before Al-Qaeda ever did
4) these fissures are not only permanent and inevitable, but work to our advantage, and we should do nothing to discourage them.
5) the only goal that makes sense in Iraq is to have the whole venture, in the end, lead to a weakening of the Camp of Islam, and this is achievable only if the Administration perceives that its own stated goals (about unity, prosperity, etc.) for Iraq are not only wrong, but 180 degrees wrong, and are not only unattainable, but make no sense.
6) a "victory" in Iraq can only be attained by leaving Iraq, right away -- indeed, the leaving Iraq ought to have taken place no later than February 2004, by which time it was clear that Saddam Hussein, his sons, and his associates, were all either captured or killed and, furthermore, that enough time had elapsed to scour the country for weapons, or projects to produce weapons, of mass destruction. Once those two things had been accomplished, it made -- and it makes -- no sense to remain.
But all of this can only be understood by those who take the trouble to find out about, and think about, Islam, and then to find out about, and think about, the exact nature of the peoples, and divisions, within Iraq, and to determine if those who grow up in societies suffused with Islam can conceivably exhibit the kind of rational spirit of political compromise, and of reliance on means other than violence, to settle scores and distribute power.
And the answer is that Islam, a belief-system suffused with violence, and with a view of possible outcomes of conflicts as being limited to two: the Victor and the Vanquished, will cause the Sunnis never to acquiesce in the new Shi'a power, and the Shi'a never to yield power in an amount sufficient to meet Sunni demands. .
The Administration cannot admit that, cannot recognize it. Instead, it can only learn -- and even there the learning-curve scarcely leaves the horizontal -- from grim experience. Unfortunately, the "experience" from which the Administration, so disturbing in its blend of transparent confusion and hallucinatory obstinacy, is not to be that of Bush and Cheney and Rice and all the others. No, it is to be the "experience" endured by American soldiers and Marines, active-duty and Reservists and National Guard members (members of the last two groups should never have been sent to Iraq, and it is outrageous that , despite a declared policy that says otherwise, in the "making the numbers" some of them should be required to return for more than one tour, a betrayal of understandings and verbal commitments that, in the reaction of those affected, will undoubtedly damage, well into the future, the quality, (and size), of both the National Guard and the Reserves).
No, they will not pay for their own ignorance about Islam and Iraq. Others are. Others have. Others will. Unforgivable.
Posted on 05/08/2007 12:20 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
I don't think anyone who has seriously studied the matter could conclude at this juncture that we are at war with "al-Qaeda" alone. Nobody, that is, except Andy McCarthy, whose pronouncements on foreign policy get further divorced from reality by the day. Even though he is skeptical of the Light-Unto-The-Muslim-Nations democratization project in Iraq, he stubbornly insists that we must stay in Iraq simply in order to kill jihadis, even though the sea of Islam provides an endlessly replenishable supply of them and the cost per head is running something like 40 million dollars (880 billion dollars divided by 20,000 al-Qaeda killed). McCarthy writes the following at NRO:
If we leave now, we lose. It’s that simple. We make a prophet of bin Laden, who has been saying all along that we’d quit once things got tough. We embolden the enemy, swell its recruitment, inflate its funding, and guarantee that suppressing it, after the inevitable next wave of attacks against us, will cost many, many more American lives...
On the need to fight al Qaeda, the argument is already won. But the jury is out, and increasingly skeptical, on how well Iraq serves that need. Victory is not about Iraqi democracy or stability. It is about killing and capturing jihadists who threaten American national security. If the administration, with its bully pulpit, is incapable of convincing Americans that those jihadists are in Iraq, then Iraq is lost.
We are all weary of Iraq. Still, if competently informed, the American people won’t tolerate losing in Iraq — not to al Qaeda.
The unfortunate conclusion here is that we should remain in Iraq indefinitely in order to deny "al-Qaeda" the ability to declare "victory." McCarthy seems not to have noticed that this enemy declares victory constantly no matter what the situation is. Islamic doctrine makes this inevitable. Islam is always "victorious" and does not admit defeat --- ever. So it is the height of irrationality to tie our strategy to whether some Muslims will declare victory since they are incapable of declaring anything else no matter what happens.
Secondly, once we understand the war correctly as a struggle with Islam and the entire Camp of Islam, not simply some little terror group like al-Qaeda, the wisdom of leveraging weaknesses within that camp becomes immediately apparent.
Though I admire Andy for his stout prosecution of terrorists in America, more study of the history of Islam, the history of Iraq, (specifically Sunni-Shia interaction) and the doctrine of Islam is needed before he will contribute meaningfully to foreign policy discussions.
Posted on 05/08/2007 9:10 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
He's a "strange loop", apparently. Richard Morrison is quite excited about the idea:
But what exactly is “self”? How does it get formed – replete with all its dreams and decisions, desires and dreads – out of that lump of congealed porridge that is the human brain?
This is the vexed question of “consciousness”. And the enigma of how our brains produce it, to such a sophisticated degree, looks set to baffle mankind long after we have learnt how to hitchhike across galaxies. But a brilliant American prof called Douglas Hofstadter has just written a book that may point us in the right direction. And if I spend the next 700 words raving incoherently about it, that’s because it is the most gripping 400 pages I’ve read in years.
The book is I Am a Strange Loop – a wacky title that turns out to be an exact statement of Hofstadter’s view. A strange loop is a concept borrowed from mathematics.
I wonder if it's got anything to do with string theory.
It’s the apparent ability of a complex system to loop back on itself, perceive itself, and make self-referential statements that seem paradoxically to have a life independent of the system that made it. Hofstadter’s favourite example is the infinitely receding tunnel of screens you see when you point a video camera at a screen showing its own output. Another very basic example would be the sentence that started this article.
He argues that the human brain is this sort of system: trillions of cells that operate according to the laws of physics, yet which (over a lifetime) gradually make the strange loops – abstract patterns of thought, behaviour, feelings – that constitute our “selves”. What makes the patterns so powerful is that, although they are clearly created by the sludge of vibrating cells in the brain, they loop back and start to control the brain. They, rather than the cells, become the real carriers of human “consciousness”.
If “the self” comprises strange loops which, though created by the brain, float free of physical matter, then it follows that the self need not necessarily die when the brain dies. Could the loops not perhaps be supported, at least in “coarse-grained and approximate” form, within the mind patterns of someone close to the deceased person – someone who had loved that person very much and who had, over the years, been thoroughly infused with that person’s thought patterns and ideals (Hofstadter poetically calls this the “interpenetration of souls”)? In other words, can the self of a dead person literally live on, albeit as a kind of afterglow, in the minds of loved ones who are still alive, and finally fade away only when those people die in their turn?
Oh, get knotted. Why not just call it a soul and have done with it? To use a bit of string theory of my own, Hofstadter may be a strange loop, but I'm afraid not. We're never going to know what consciousness is, so we may as well just enjoy it and not think about it too much.
Posted on 05/08/2007 8:41 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Me-oh-my-oh! But watercress, yes, at the White House dinner feting the Royals. And Cajun charisma machine Calvin Borel, the jock who won last Saturday's Kentucky Derby (two excellent Paul Moran accounts of the race here and here).
Jockey Calvin Borel, with guest Lisa Funk,
at White House state dinner.
Photo: Associated Press
Posted on 05/08/2007 8:08 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Spengler, in his perspicacious discussion of premier Arab poet Adonis' conclusion that the Arabs are extinct [h/t: Dave Lull]:
To Christians and Jews, God is not a monarch who presents a final and indisputable truth, but a lover whose face is hidden - perhaps the most fruitful subject for poetry in human history. In the tradition of the biblical Song of Songs, St John conveys love for God in distinctly erotic terms. It is inconceivable for a Muslim poet to address Allah with the intimacy of a lover in the language of human passion. If poetry holds a mirror to our inner life, then the inner life of Westerners is profoundly different from that of Muslims, as different as the concepts of a God of Love who exalts the humble, and Allah who loves the strong and rewards the victorious. [Read it all here.]
Posted on 05/08/2007 7:51 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Posted on 05/08/2007 7:22 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
(New Jersey-WABC, May 8, 2007)
- Six ethnic Albanians were arrested in an alleged plot to storm Fort Dix, the Army installation in Burlington County, N.J.
Police say five of the suspects were arrested in Cherry Hill, and they will be arraigned later today in federal court in Camden. They will be charged with terror conspiracy.
The suspects planned to use automatic weapons to storm the base and "kill as many soldiers as possible," federal authorities said Tuesday.
Officials say the men were lured into a secret meeting to purchase AK-47s from an arms dealer, who was secretly cooperating with the FBI. Several of the men were from the same family, and federal agents raided their homes overnight.
They reportedly discussed numerous targets, including the Dover Air Force Base in Delaware, Fort Monmouth in Eatontown, and Coast Guard stations. Federal agents made the arrests when the suspects zeroed in on Fort Dix.
According to investigators, the suspects traveled from South Jersey to the Poconos, where they trained with automatic weapons. They have been discussing the plot over the past year.
Several of the suspects, ethnic Albanians, spent a number of years in the U.S., but their immigration status was not immediately clear. Some of the suspects were caught on videotape and audiotape.
The New Jersey State Police and FBI agents were involved in investigation and arrest.
Posted on 05/08/2007 7:17 AM by Rebecca Bynum
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Khalil Gibran International Academy principal Dhabah Amontaser
Of Amontaser, the NY Sun opines today:
[...] Dhabah "Debbie" Almontaser, accepted an award in 2005 from the Council on American-Islamic Relations. When Mayor Bloomberg in 2002 named a CAIR official to the city's human relations commission, it set off a firestorm of complaints. CAIR had cosponsored an event at Brooklyn College where attendees chanted "no to the Jews, descendants of the apes," and the organization posted a letter on its Web site suggesting that Muslims could not have been responsible for the attacks of September 11, 2001.
Posted on 05/08/2007 6:27 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
Posted on 05/08/2007 5:47 AM by Robert Bove
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
So says Anthony Daniels (Theodore Dalrymple) in The Telegraph:
He is famously short-tempered and has a knack for choosing the word exactly calculated to inflame passions. When he used the popular abusive term "la racaille" to describe French thugs, the word reverberated around the world, and the rioters reacted with the fury of the justly accused. (When he used that word, whose frankness came as a relief to many in France, my sister-in-law said she would vote for him.)
But the question at issue was why the sons of immigrants should have turned out to be such an angry rabble in a polity whose mission statement is, after all, liberty, equality and fraternity. Reflection on that issue, and others, led Sarko to the conclusion that something was rotten in the state of France, despite its continuing, but superficial, douceur de la vie (the French are by far the largest consumers of tranquillisers in the world).
The public finances were a mess, and France was mortgaging its future to pay for train drivers and others to retire on generous pensions at the age of 50. The 35-hour week was predicated on the idiotic idea that one man's labour could simply replace another's, so that when a worker went home early another could step into his shoes and continue or complete the task - and thus France's intractable unemployment would decline, as the unemployed supposedly took up the slack...
He doesn't have the literary pretensions of a cultivated cynic such as Mitterrand to soften his image. Some of his pronouncements about the need for more state-funded mosques are distinctly odd, and not what one might expect of a man who needed to steal some of Jean-Marie Le Pen's clothes.
On the other hand, he is the only politician who has aroused any enthusiasm because he is the only one who offers change or even appears to understand that change is necessary. France still has many advantages, if only it could take advantage of them: its workforce is much more productive, and vastly better educated than the British.
This is often stated. However, perhaps the French workforce is more productive and better educated than the British because the unskilled and uneducated population is unemployed.
A great deal now depends on whether Sarko turns out to be Edward Heath or Margaret Thatcher.
If the latter, France will soon far out-distance Britain in prosperity; and, much as the young in the banlieues may hate him, and set fire to a few cars to express their hatred, he is the only hope of averting the much more serious violence that is inevitable in the absence of reform.
The emphasis is mine. A Thatcher is good for any country that has suffered from Socialism for a long time. However, what Thatcher and Thatcher's Britain did not have to face in 1979 was hordes of "youths". And we know what "youth" means, don't we? Daniels rather glosses over this point. For a more realistic view, see Hugh Fitzgerald's post here.
Posted on 05/08/2007 3:51 AM by Mary Jackson
Tuesday, 08 May 2007
President Bush put his foot in it. From The Telegraph:
Mr Bush's slip came during a welcoming speech as the Queen began the Washington stage of her US state visit.
The United States was a nation she "had come to know very well", he said. "After all, you've dined with 10 US presidents. You helped our nation celebrate its bicentennial in 17 - 1976."
As many in the crowd burst out laughing, Mr Bush turned and looked sheepishly at the Queen. Peering at him from beneath her hat, she did not appear to share the general merriment.
Turning back, Mr Bush prompted the Queen to laugh as he said with a smile: "She gave me a look that only a mother could give a child."
Let's see that look then:
Now that's impressive. She looks just like Helen Mirren. I wish I could do withering looks, but I can't. People just laugh.
Bush's gaffe is very mild compared with what the Queen must be used to. Prince Charles is a blithering idiot. And her husband puts his foot in it all the time. He famously told a British student that if he stayed in China much longer he would "go home with slitty eyes". His best faux pas, however, was on the occasion of the visit of Dr Canaan Banana, President of Zimbabwe. Dr Banana was so sensitive about his name that he passed a law in 1982 forbidding jokes about it. However, when he visited England, Prince Philip asked him, "Did you come on your own or is there a bunch of you?"
Posted on 05/08/2007 3:31 AM by Mary Jackson
Monday, 07 May 2007
"Retired Maj. Gen. John Batiste: "The President vetoed our troops and the American people. His stubborn commitment to a failed strategy in Iraq is incomprehensible. He committed our great military to a failed strategy in violation of basic principles of war. His failure to mobilize the nation to defeat world wide Islamic extremism is tragic. We deserve more from our commander-in-chief and his administration."
Retired Maj. Gen. Paul Eaton: "This administration and the previously Republican-controlled legislature have been the most caustic agents against America's Armed Forces in memory. Less than a year ago, the Republicans imposed great hardship on the Army and Marine Corps by their failure to pass a necessary funding language. This time, the President of the United States is holding our Soldiers hostage to his ego. More than ever [it is] apparent [that] only the Army and the Marine Corps are at war — alone, without their President's support."
Retired Lt. Gen. Robert Gard: "With this veto [of the war-funding-cum-suggested-end-date bill], the president has doomed us to repeating a terrible history. President Bush's current position is hauntingly reminiscent of March 1968 in Vietnam. At that time, both the Secretary of Defense and the President had recognized that the war could not be won militarily — just as our military commanders in Iraq have acknowledged. But not wanting to be tainted with losing a war, President Johnson authorized a surge of 25,000 troops. At that point, there had been 24,000 U.S. troops killed in action. Five years later, when the withdrawal of U.S. troops was complete, we had suffered 34,000 additional combat deaths."
Posted on 05/07/2007 7:30 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 07 May 2007
"(...) I want to issue a call to all the people of the Mediterranean to tell them that it is in the Mediterranean that everything is going to be played out, that we have to overcome all kinds of hatred to pave the way for a great dream of peace and a great dream of civilization. I want to tell them that the time has come to build together a Mediterranean union that will form a link between Europe and Africa. What was done for the union of Europe 60 years ago, we are going to do today for the union of the Mediterranean. (...)".--from this news item
The last, worrisome phrase from Sarkozy's speech. It does give off more than a whiff of Deux-Rivisme, which is discussed more fully in an article from November 5, 2005:
"Voila, deux-rivistes of the world
The large-scale presence of Muslims in France, as in other countries of Western Europe, has resulted for Infidels in a world that is far less pleasant, far more expensive, and far more physically insecure than it would be without such a Muslim presence. There is no French non-Muslim who could deny the truth of this assertion. And there are very few who, if asked their real opinion, and if they could give it behind closed doors, would not devoutly wish that the clock could be turned back 40 years, so that large-scale Muslim migration into France had never been permitted.
Such large-scale migration began with the Harkis at the end of the Algerian War; these were the local Arabs and Berbers who had fought on the side of the French, and who were rescued from murderous retribution by being allowed to settle in France in the early 1960s. Then came the boom years, all over Europe. Everywhere Muslims were allowed in to work. In France, they came from North Africa -- the maghrebins. At first men came alone to work. Then, because of their antisocial -- their criminal -- behavior, Giscard d'Estaing accepted the argument that if only they had their families with them, they would quiet down. So families were allowed to join the men. But how many wives came, and how many children came, or were born in France itself, was not something that Giscard d'Estaing had thought much about.
For a while, the numbers were small, and the Islam that remained undeclared in the mental baggage was never completely unpacked. The first generation of immigrants consisted of those eager to leave the hell of the Muslim countries from which they came. They did not quite so easily create those all-Arab or all-Muslim communities, no-go for the Infidels, that required certain numbers, and more than numbers, the attitude to take on the Infidel authorities. When mosques and madrasas were built, often with money supplied by Arabs from abroad, when a whole network of Arabic-language radio and television stations were established, and are now supplemented by satellite television, this made it easier to create a self-contained Muslim environment, naturally hostile to the Infidels who, in the case of this circumambient incidental France, were the incidental French. Now millions of Muslims can be geographically in France, but not of France. And they do not want to be "of France" because France is currently run by Infidels. Its laws, its customs, its manners, are those of the Infidels. This is not right. This is contra naturam. The world ultimately belongs to Allah, and therefore to those, and those only, who accept the message of the Prophet. All others are usurpers, and eventually will be removed from power -- they are merely temporarily powerful, in Europe in what is still Dar al-Harb. It will not require military conquest from without: Da'wa and demographic conquest from within will eventually allow Islam to dominate, and Muslims to rule. It is only right, it is only just.
Nowadays, of course, there is no such need for such unskilled workers, inculcated with hostility toward the French authorities, toward the authority of the Infidel nation-state and toward its Infidel people. The aggression and hostility, the indifference to study, the belief that Infidels should support them (which is more rooted a belief than the mere desire, in any situation where benefits can be obtained, of some recipients to exploit whatever is there to be exploited). Inshallah-fatalism and sheer unwillingness to work (what Saudis, what Kuwaitis, what rich members of the Emirates put in more than 2 taxing hours a day?) explain the miserable performance of Arab and Muslim oil states, the states and peoples that have been the beneficiaries of the largest transfer of wealth in human history -- some $10 trillion since 1973 -- and yet have failed in every case to create modern economies (the Shopping Mall that is Dubai does not count), but instead rely on foreign wage-slaves for almost everything. And the same inshallah-fatalism and the same conviction that Infidels have a duty to support Muslims, and that what is infuriating is not Muslim "poverty" so much as is the failure of Muslims as yet to assume their rightful place, as Islam insists, as those who should dominate, should possess the power and wealth even of, or perhaps especially of, the countries still being run by Infidels. The integration of all others, including black but non-Muslim Africans and immigrants from the Caribbean, and once-impoverished Vietnamese and Chinese immigrants, undercuts the insistence that Muslim economic underperformance is the result of French indifference. It is hard to integrate people whose attitude is one of inculcated hostility, and a sneering theoretical superiority (as Muslims) to their Infidel surroundings that, of course, makes their fury at having to learn or mimic or yield to Infidel laws and manners and ways even more maddening. Why should Muslims, those who by right should be ruling, have to yield or adjust in any way to Infidels, wherever those Infidels may be? And even the most successful, most seemingly integrated, among the Muslim immigrants turn out, when one examines their views, to reflect attitudes that suggest that many or most of them continue to owe their allegiance to the umma al-islamiyya, the Community of Believers, and not to their fellow Infidel citizens. Surely the failure of Muslim states to create economies from the most fabulous unearned wealth in history tells us someting about inshallah-fatalism, lack of industry, lack of motivation.
Surely the failure of Muslims not only in France, but everywhere in Western Europe where the welfare state offers means of support, to perform even close to the level of all other immigrant groups, should suggest that the problem lies in Islam itself, its tenets, and the attitudes and atmospherics it naturally gives rise to. This is what Sarkozy and others, seen as comparatively resolute(and compared to that former Howard Johnson's soda jerk, Chirac, or the comical D. de V., who would not seem resolute?) are unable to see, unable even to discuss: what it is about Islam that explains the behavior, the performance, the attitudes of Muslims not only in France, but everwhere in the Bilad al-kufr, the Lands of the Infidels.
For 1350 years the Jizyah demanded of non-Muslims supported the Muslim state; slaves seized from various Infidel populations were also a source of labor, of wealth, of soldiers. Even today, if one looks closely, one can see under the surface of things a disguised "jizyah" -- that is, a payment forcibly extracted from the Infidels for the benefit of Muslims. In Malaysia, where the population is half-Muslim, it is the non-Muslim Chinese and Indians who are forced to share the fruits of their industry and entrepreneurial activity with the less successful Muslim Malays. This "Bumiputra" system, whereby Muslims must be brought into all non-Muslim enterprises, is one example of the disguised jizyah. So to are the many billions in foreign aid from Infidel countries that is lavished upon all those Araband Muslim states that happen not to possess oil wealth. No matter how hostile these recipients remain, or how even more hostile they become, they continue to receive such aid because the Infidel donors are terrified of what might happen if they cut off such aid. But they haven't thought it through. What, after all, would Egypt, that center of anti-Americanism and antisemitism, do to the United States that it is not already doing, if the $60 billion sent so far were not to be added to by the American taxpayers? What would or could the "Palestinian" Authority do? What could Pakistan, whose national hero is the sinister Dr. A. Q. Khan, do if the Americans ceased to supply them with debt relief, favorable trade treatment, and military equipment at concessionary prices?
In the countries conquered by Muslims, non-Muslims could live and even practice their religion so long as they fulfilled a number of onerous conditions, including payment of the Jizyah. If they ceased to pay, they lost all their rights, and became fair game. Something like that attitude appears to have affected the Infidel countries of Western Europe and North America, in their fear of cutting off all such aid to those who, as a matter of belief, must regard them with permanent hostility, and worse.
Today, in France, there is no attempt as yet to shut off all sources of future Muslim population growth, for fear of offending the North African states that may, as members of the Francophone nations, offer a little boost to French pride, but otherwise are an economic, diplomatic, and political drag, and ultimately menace, to France. Should from now on the French ever need outside workers again, they must never again go to the Maghreb for such workers. The real cost of the maghrebins, if properly internalized, is too high. Instead, should workers be needed, they can be imported from Eastern Europe or Russia, or China or the Philippines or Latin America. And with black African Christians, or Caribbean blacks, the French experience has been clear: people with the blackest skins, if not Muslim, are able to integrate into French society without difficulty, while the Arabs and Muslims, no matter how light their skin, are far more difficult to mold into loyal citizens of France. If workers are now readily aviailable from non-Muslim countries to meet any new needs, this will make it easier for the French government to now repatriate all those Muslims who have not yet attained citizenship. They have no moral or other claim to French citizenship. Their presence is, for those who see clearly, a present and a growing future threat to France and to its non-Muslim population. Why should that population be forced, for an abstraction, to endure a threat that can only grow? The real price of the Muslim immigrants in France -- the price paid in social peace, the price paid in monitoring their mosques, their madrasas, their movements, the price paid in supporting their deliberately gigantic families, the price paid in repairing or replacing what they destroy or torch to teach the "French a lesson" -- that price far outweights any imaginary advantage to France and French foreign policy in the Arab countries. The French still continue to pay the same market price for oil and gas that everyone else, even the United States, has to pay. But that, of course, is not something that those who have as individuals been the recipients of favors, of business contracts, of bribes, as "recyclers of petrodollars," wish the French public to know about.
The French do not in any way need the goodwill of any Arab or Muslim state. There is nothing that the Maghreb supplies that cnanot be supplied elsewhere, even if Tunisian dates are considered preferable to those from California. It is possible to diminish the air and boat traffic between one "rive" or bank of the Mediterranean and the other "rive" so that the vast illegal migration will be brought under control or stopped altogether, even as illegal immigrants, or all those deemed more likely to constitute a security threat are, as a first step, sent back to their countries of origin. And since France's economy is now static, the more money that is needed to insure the social peace of those whose inshallah-fatalism and attitude that not the world, but the world of Infidels -- the very people whom their belief-system teaches them to hate -- owes them a living, the more that will have to come from the pockets of those same deplorable Infidels. And the Muslim presence in the state schools is now cause for permanent disruption of ministerial curricula (we won't read Voltaire, or Racine; we won't study the Holocaust or French history), and of classroom and schoolyard discipline. And that, in turn, causes the same French taxpayers to remove their children from public schools, and have to endure the added expense of private schools. And that, in turn, will make the native French non-Muslims, who themselves may have had to endure the aggression and violence of Muslim classmates, will in their own life-plans factor in the new cost of raising children in France, which rises as the need for private schools rises. And that, in turn, may cause the French non-Muslim birth rate to plunge even more. And so the Muslim proportion of the population rises, not only because of the large Muslim families, but because the expense of those families on the state, and effect on French public schools, necessarily act to shrink further the non-Muslim proportion of the population.
The French, the well-connected and carefully schooled rulers, and the ruled, both for a long time remained carefully uninterested in what Islam teaches, or what arises naturally from the tenets of Islam, to form what might be called the attitudes and atmospherics of a Muslim community. And then there is the matter of personal gain, which has caused so many to forget other allegiances in the rush to recycle petrodollars for their own benefit and that of their friends, their circle, those like them. Chirac over many years has been the recipient of many favors from various Arab tycoons and tyrants, including the late Rafik Hariri, who brought him nice presents and remembered him in other ways, and the soon-to-be-late Saddam Hussein. Rumors of a Parisian version of the Kniphausen Hawk, a jewel-encrusted falcon, one of only two commissioned by some Arabs, made by some master craftsmen (perhaps Cartier knows something about this) with one of them delivered to a French contractor with extensive interests in the Middle East, and the other, it is said, to Jacques Chirac himself (this would have been about 25 years ago), might help explain Chirac's behavior. His rumored recreations must run into money. As for the preening poseur and poetaster Dominique de Villepin, to date the funniest part of his routine is when he reads a speech in Cairo or Damascus or somewhere else in an Arab country, and in attempting to make the appropriate allusion, somehow mixes up the great Persian poet Hafiz with the "Palestinian" propagandist Mahmoud Darwish, and then just for ecumenical fun, throws in Maimonides. He, D. de V., may see himself as a blend of Chateaubriand, Talleyrand, Malraux, and most likely St.-John Perse. Others will think of Sacha Guitry at his silliest. As for as these statesmen’s performance over the last few days -- one suspects Annette Funicello could have done better.
Even Nicolas Sarkozy, who by comparison with Chirac and D. de V., appears to be a giant in the earth, has not yet gone far enough in his own understanding of Islam. Neither he nor others in his camp understand as yet the immutability of the canonical Islamic texts (so that no "reformation" of Islam is possible), nor have they realized that Infidels have no way to detect the real "moderate" from the feigning one. They do not understand that even the "moderate" Muslim, precisely because of his outward affability and seeming reasonableness, may help promote the Jihad by confusing Infidels, or delaying their own thorough comprehension of the matter. They do not understand, finally, that any "moderate" can metamorphose at any time in the future, for any reason, into an "immoderate" Muslim -- or for that matter, have children or grandchildren who will, out of all sorts of impulses, reasons, or setbacks, revert to the real, full-bodied Islam that remains a permanent menace to world civilization.
Sarkozy continues to speak as if he still believes in government-funded mosques instead of mosques that get no government funding, and are not permitted to get Saudi or other outside funding, and that are strictly monitored and closed if found to contain false papers, explosives, and hate-Infidel propaganda, or to preach hatred of the Infidels. And what is Islam without the strict division of the world between Believer and Infidel, and the hostility, or even murderous hatred, the former must necessarily have for the latter?
And yet for all his ignorance one must be grateful for Sarkozy. He gave Tariq Ramadan a television thrashing, and he is the only one who may help to save France. He, and such writers and journalists as Anne-Marie Delcambre, and Jean-Louis Brugiere, and Alexandre del Valle, and Yvan Rioufol, and Bat Ye'or, and a handful of others.
There is no one currently in politics, save possibly for the unacceptable Le Pen and Megret, who dares to articulate the problem. Everyone is waiting. Who will do it? Who will admit that the French establishment, the French elites enjoying their lunches at Arpege, have done terrible things to France and to the people of France, in their immigration policy, in their Euro-Arab Dialogue, in their mad pursuit of an impossible identity of interest between "les deux rives" of the Mediterranean?
In the 1930s, in direct violation of the Treaty of Versailles, Hitler reoccupied the Rhineland. The French army at the time was the equal of the German army, and had it taken a stand, had it marched, things later might have been headed off, and the world had been different. But all sorts of things had happened. A particularly gifted French minister, who took Hitler's measure early, had been assassinated in 1934 when an attempt was made on the life of the Serbian king. The government of Leon Blum was under constant attack from the right; even the Assemblee Nationale had been attacked by cagoulards. Strong measures were not to be taken.
It is now time to wake up, and no army of occupation will march in to arouse citizens to their duty. The whole thing is different, insidious, slow, and there is always at the ready some slightly plausible explanation or justification that allows for temporizing -- until it is too late. During that other Occupation, the German one, the more obvious one, employees of the Musee de l'homme at Trocadero, many of them immigrants, proved themselves ready to die for France, instead of working to destroy it. There is a plaque to Boris Vilde and other Russian Jewish immigrants, morts pour la France, somewhere at Trocadero -- unless the Muslim rioters and vandals have torn it down. There are those who can become French, despite everything that is done to them, and those who cannot become French, despite everything that is done for them.
And now France itself appears to be slowly coming unhinged. Voila, deux-rivistes of the world. The riots, the arson and other attacks all over France are the world you have made. There it is, messieurs et mesdames, voila la France out of its depth, and in too deep. But who needs La Fontaine, or the pride of France, the dictee, as long as the oil flows, the petrodollars are recycled to the right swine, and everyone continues to bear burnt offerings -- cars, houses, schools, a civilization -- to the untouchable and implacable Idols of the Age, those Articles of Faith about tolerance, diversity, what is thinkable and what "unthinkable," which were only creations of fallible humans in the first place.
Posted on 05/07/2007 5:06 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 07 May 2007
What's the MATTER with me? I'm getting to be a terrible homebody.
Last month the trouble & strife went off to China for 2 weeks on family business, leaving me alone with the kids. I was seriously glum—wrote a maudlin piece for NRODT about it.
Now I'm away from home for 2 weeks (this is being typed in the Air France business lounge at Idlewild Airport) & I'm sunk in glumness again. The way the limo left town, it circled round past the other end of my street. I was looking out the window, thinking: "That's my street! Where we live! Where I walk my dog—dear old Boris! I shan't see it, or him, or my Derbs, for two whole weeks! Boo hoo..."
It felt like some kind of body tissues tearing.
It's all much easier when you're younger. I used to take off for foreign parts with keen anticipation & not a backward glance—not even as much attachment as the Irish lad setting out on the rocky road to
...Saluted father dear,
Kissed me darlin' mother,
Drank a pint o' beer,
Me grief an' tears to smother... Etc.
All right, I'm going to sit here a while & meditate—see if I can summon up a bit of the old spirit of adventure. If that doesn't work, I'll drink a pint o' beer.
Posted on 05/07/2007 3:57 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 07 May 2007
As I said earlier we went to the Rochester Sweeps festival again this weekend.
I went to Evensong in the Cathedral yesterday afternoon. Inside the choir sang heavenly music by Bach; outside was earthly music about work and the soil. The choir sang Psalm 98 which was appropriate to both.
Shew yourselves joyful unto the Lord, all ye lands:
sing, rejoice, and give thanks.
Praise the Lord upon the harp:
sing to the harp with a psalm of thanksgiving.
With trumpets also and shawms:
O shew yourselves joyful before the Lord the King.
The shawm was a forerunner of the oboe. I think I saw one, although it may have been a hautboy. Whatever, it was very eerie.
Below are 1)The Witchmen,
2) Royal Liberty Morris
and 3) Loose Women, of whom Ahmadmandinnerjacket would not approve.
Posted on 05/07/2007 3:37 PM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
Monday, 07 May 2007
You know you've gone and done it. You've brought up the book "Millions of Cats." A book I first read at three, and that has had more of an influence on my geopolitical views, especially in the Middle East, than all the works of Alfred Thayer Mahan and Sir Halford Mackinder put together.
Here are just two of its previous appearances at Jihad Watch, where it became the Official Children's Book of the website:
1. "Reference in this speech to the goat in the story Bush was reading to the children that morning (not, apparently, Three Billy-goats Gruff but something more recent, and less memorable) --makes one hope that he will read another children's book to a class when he next gets a chance. And that book is "Millions of Cats" with text and unforgettable pictures by Wanda Ga’g. Buy the book to see the illustrations; it has been reprinted, and Audur H. Winnan's catalogue raisonnée of Wanda Gag's work, which I have right beside me, is excellent, nevertheless includes only one print from a special edition of "Millions of Cats."
Briefly, the story goes like this: a Little Old Man and a Little Old Woman live together, but they are lonely. The Little Old Man goes out in search of a cat. And he brings home not one, but hundreds and thousands and millions of cats. And those cats fight over food. And they caterwaul. And they scratch and bite each other, so that in the end, they have eaten each other up, and disappeared. Save for one small inoffensive kitty, who did not get fight, and who survives to be fattened up by the Little Old Man and the Little Old Woman, and they all live happily ever after.
There is a moral there. It is not one that would please Bin Laden, but one that Bush might consider.
"it could have done without the Mr Potato-head analogy...."
-- from a posting above
Yes, but I like Mr. Potato Head. It is my favorite toy. And Slinkies, even if they break after slithering up (or down) a few steps on Christmas morning.
And in making points, I like as well to use children's books.
I like Millions of Cats.
I like The Little Engine That Could.
I like The Little House.
I like To Think That I Saw It On Mulberry Street.
I like Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose.
I like Goodnight Moon.
I like Madeleine.
I like Babar.
These are for some American children (perhaps mainly in the fabulous past) the equivalent of folk wisdom, these are the Fables of Aesop and La Fontaine and Krylov, these are Pushkin's Nurse.
Posted on 05/07/2007 1:57 PM by Hugh Fitzgerald
Monday, 07 May 2007
One of my points in the Darwin debate, is that you shouldn't hold an idea responsible for the people who profess it.
Thus, the fact that Woodrow Wilson swooned over Darwin's theory about the origin of species, tells you nothing at all about Darwin's theory, though it probably tells you something about Wilson.
The creationists rely far too much on this "recruiting" of historical figures in their efforts to make Darwinism look bad. As I've said, it cuts both ways. Mahmoud Ahmadinejad swoons over Intelligent Design...
and that tells us nothing about Intelligent Design.
A corollary is that you shouldn't hold an idea responsible for other ideas the originator of the idea may have had. The fact that Sir Isaac Newton believed in alchemy and Bible codes casts no shadow on his theory of gravitation (even if Newton THOUGHT it did!) Likewise, if it is the case (don't ask me) that Darwin favored state-enforced eugenics, that does nothing to invalidate his theory about the origin of species, which could still be perfectly sound.
Posted on 05/07/2007 12:29 PM by John Derbyshire
Monday, 07 May 2007
Concerning my post about Anna Netrebko at the shooting range, my gun guy weighs in with an analysis:
Photo 1: left, PP-90 SMG (collapsible); right, SP or 6P9 silenced pistol (for Spetsnaz troops).
Photo 2: AK-74M with GP-25 grenade launcher (which she is about to fire); RPG-7V rocket grenade launcher.
At a reasonable guess, she is shooting at a Spetsnaz (Russian-equivalent Special Forces) base, as the SMG and pistol are not general issue weapons, and her IG in #2 is wearing a Spetsnaz uniform.
To Roman's point about the lady not wearing ear protection: As an army cadet in the 1960s, I did a lot of shooting on open-air ranges—rifles and light machine guns—and none of us ever wore ear protection. It was unknown. I also shot .22 rifles on an indoor range, and can't recall wearing any ear protection (though it was only a few instances & my memory may be mistaken). Sure, that was a more carefree, less litigious age. Everybody smoked three packs a day back then, drank liquor by the pint, & drove without seat belts. (Rather like present-day Russians, in fact.) Still, I am not aware of suffering any hearing loss from all that range work.
Further, there's a possibility that these photos are set up just to deter kidnappers and other nuisances by advertising that Ms. Netrebko is not a person to be trifled with. Seems to me that might be a smart thing to advertise in the somewhat ... unruly circumstances of present-day Russia.
That's just a thought. I'm going to go on believing that Ms. Netrebko is an enthusiastic range rat & crack shot.
Posted on 05/07/2007 12:21 PM by John Derbyshire